DOE Declares Condition 'Critical' for Copper
By Dan Markham
on Aug 7, 2023
Copper has gotten one step closer to the desired status, but it's not quite there yet.
The U.S. Department of Energy has added the red metal to its Critical Minerals List. Alas, the DOE is only one list keeper, and not the most important in the alphabetical world of the U.S. government. Copper advocates are still pushing for inclusion on the United States Geological Survey's list.
It is through the USGS inclusion that copper producers and other supply chain members will be eligible for items such as the EV tax credit, inclusion on the permitting dashboard and participation in permit legislative initiatives.
But there will be no gift horse dentistry by industry leaders. The inclusion of copper on the DOE's list is a major development, following the leads of many other countries in recognizing red metals' growing importance in the economy of the future.
“The Copper Development Association congratulates DOE on its thoughtful, forward-thinking analysis that resulted in copper’s inclusion on the Critical Materials List,” said Andrew G. Kireta, Jr., CDA’s president and CEO, whose organization has spearheaded the inclusion efforts. “Copper is a major contributor to U.S. economic and national security. With copper demand projections doubling by 2035, primarily due to plans for the clean energy transition, electrification and clean water infrastructure, the nation would be defenseless without electricity and copper’s vital role in its generation, transmission and distribution. The U.S. should do all it can to protect and promote our domestic copper industry. ”
And its inclusion is not without benefits. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, in partnership with DOE, announced up to $4 billion in a first round of tax credits, under the 48C Advanced Energy Project Credit, for projects that expand clean energy manufacturing and recycling; critical materials refining, processing and recycling; and for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions at industrial facilities. These funds come from the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act.